Tar 2022

"Tar" is a movie that goes under the skin. An amazing Cate Blanchett plays a powerful musician who at the peak of success loses it. It is refreshing to see something go so much beyond what one would expect from ``Hollywood". It needed some courage to display the fall of a powerful women (one would have expected from Hollywood to display only the fall of powerful men) but it shows that some true emancipation has finally reached Hollywood because yes, power and success can mislead all genders.

The New York Times calls it a cruelly elegant, elegantly cruel film. and We can't be sure if Lydia is the monster, the victim, or both. Blanchet catches well the world of academics or art, where it is often more important HOW things are said than WHAT is said. In both worlds, the listener (either an expert knowing a lot of background, or then a layperson, just impressed by the sound of it), fills in, adds their own interpretation and is left in awe.

There are few numbers appearing (an excuse for bringing the movie up in the math for movie collection): most importantly, there is the prime number 11, when Lydia mentions "The rite of Spring" by Stravinsky. [A local remark: P.S. Stravinksy had engagements in 1939 at Harvard and got married 1940 in Bedford, MA (just near the end of the minute man bike trail. In the first few years when here, I regularly skated there. )]

There is also the mystery of time (Tar: ``the past and the present converge, they are the flip-side of the same cosmic coin") and the interpretation of Mahler's 5th ``which is a mystery". Blanchet plays very well this ``act" of selling intellectual ideas by selecting out something specific and place it under the microscope. She manages also (especially in that early interview) to display the in academia well curated act of repacking condescending hubris and self praise into something that looks like humility. Simply brilliant.

[A personal remark: for me, the music of Mahler in general is a mystery. This October we saw the Mahler's 6th (a movie clip I took after the concert) in Boston which was a birthday present for me.]

MOV, Ogg Webm. IMDb link

Oliver Knill, Posted December 21, 2022,